Q. I have six drawer pulls, four key covers, and eight brads for the key covers, which I want to have brass plated. I am having no success in locating a source to have the pieces brass plated. Do you or any of your readers know of a source to have the plating done?
Those drawer pulls, keyhole covers, and maybe even the brads might be solid brass. I have never heard of a brass-plated drawer pull. Actually, the pulls and the discoloration that you described are typical of solid brass and its tarnishing patterns. Put a magnet on any pull or keyhole cover. If it sticks, it is indeed brass-plated steel. If it doesn’t, it is solid brass and it can be polished to look new. Most polishes are pretty good. Brasso, the stuff we used in the army back in the mid-century to polish our brass, is not good. If it is brass-plated steel, you can have it plated. Check the yellow pages under Metal Plating. Or, Google Metal Plating.
Q. I asked you a question last week on your chat room about a punky spot on a bathroom floor near the corner of a bathtub. Spot had been pointed out by home inspector four years ago, but now tiles are loose. Before I could save your advice, the session ended. I would like to show the info to my husband. Any way I can retrieve it?
You sure can: That floor is no longer punky but downright wet, and rotting, and all or part of it must be replaced. It sounds as if moisture is condensing on the tub or toilet bowl, if it is nearby, and running down and staying on the floor until the tiles loosen and the wood under them decays. You need a plumber to lift the toilet and check the tub for any rotten wood under it. You need a carpenter to check the tiles and remove them, and any rotten wood under them. And someone, probably the plumber, to find out what caused the decay. In my view, the decay was caused by water, which came from a toilet leak or condensation of water vapor on the bowl, and on the tub. The tub drain also should be checked. The toilet leak can be fixed by a plumber, and the condensation ended by ventilating the bathroom during and after baths and showers, and installing an exhaust fan exhausting to the outdoors.
Q. I have hundreds of fruit flies or gnats flying all over my house. How can I get rid of them? They look like baby flies. HELP!!!
Fill a small bowl with red wine or wine vinegar and a drop of detergent. The flies are lured to the wine or vinegar, and the detergent will cause them to drown. Don’t use white vinegar. White vinegar contains no fruit, and the flies will ignore it. Use several bowls, if need be.
Q. I have a tall concrete pagoda for my yard. The concrete is developing a white powder. Can I seal it?
That powder is efflorescence, the leaching of lime out of concrete by water. Keep brushing it off and it might eventually stop. It is harmless. Yes, you can seal it: One coat of a clear sealer will do it for a while.